Happy 24th Anniversary, Marlena!

By  Connie Passalacqua Hayman

This week marks the 24th anniversary of the debut of my alter ego, Marlena De Lacroix. My first column with that byline under the standing headline Critical Condition debuted in the second issue of Soap Opera Weekly the last week of November 1989.  Weekly was an immediate success and Marlena became very popular very quickly.

A lot of people have asked me why I used the named Marlena De Lacroix.  Marlena is a play on my middle name and Lacroix phonetically comes from the last part of my last name.  At the time I was freelancing for an ABC magazine called Episodes and the editor there thought there would be less of a conflict of interest if I used a nom de plume at Weekly. Marlena’s real identity was never a secret –everyone knew it was me.

Although I have used the name continuously, the column has appeared at different times.  It appeared from 1989-2001  in Soap Opera Weekly, and debuted on the web in 2006 at Jack Myers Media Village. Here at marlenadelacroix.com, it has been running since 2007.

Marlena’s mission from the get-go was and is to report on and criticize soaps with intelligence and respect.  The readers – you, my cherished Thinking Fans – always have been veteran soap viewers with a vast knowledge both of soap history and how soaps are put together.  You  know the role of the writers, the producers and the actors.  You know what has worked well in the past and are expert at analyzing why soaps are working or if they are not.

Which brings me to my favorite part of being Marlena:  I love doing critical analysis; but what really pleases me is receiving your reaction to my opinions.  I love reading your analyses of all of the soaps.  Keep on sending your thoughts on what I write and your reactions to what you see on your daytime soaps  every day.

Thanks for your loyalty and support. Here’s to another 24 years!


  1. Happy Anniversary Marlena! I have been reading your column since Soap Opera Weekly first came out. BTW that magazine instantly became my favorite over competitor Soap Opera Digest. I have the first 11 years of magazines stored away in plastic bins. Your column was part of why I loved it so much.

    Look forward to enjoying your candid critiques for many years to come!

  2. Happy Anniversary, Marlena! I’ve also enjoyed your columns since Soap Opera Weekly first started. They are always a must-read for me. Congratulations on 24 years and here’s to many, many more!

  3. Happy Anniversary, Marlena! I always enjoy reading your fabulous critiques!

  4. Chere Marlena!

    Bon anniversaire!! Hard to believe I’ve been reading you for 24 years. But it has been a wonderful 24 years. You always give such interesting insights into the soaps. Your columns are always intelligent and thoughtful; you helped raise the standards for critiquing soaps. Many thanks.

    A question. You said your column appeared in Soap Weekly from 1989 to 1991. I believe you meant until 2001. Non? I remember reading your column there throughout the 90s, not just for 2 years. .

    Here’s to more great soap viewing and many more years of your column!

  5. You how know you always turn to the Hot 100 when you open a new issue of Billboard?

    That’s exactly what I used to do with Marlena’s column each time I sat down with a new Soap Opera Weekly, would always read Critical Condition first.

    I feel so sorry for all of the people who didn’t read her column in the 1990’s because it was brilliant.

  6. Mazel tov on Marlena’s longevity! She’s lasted longer than some soaps. Thanks for all of the hard work you have done over the years keeping things fresh, fun and interesting. You are appreciated!! xoxo

  7. I, too, purchased that first episode of WEEKLY. And I also turned to “Critical Condition” first each week, then read Mimi Torchin’s column, then the news of the week. During those years, 1989-2001, I preferred WEEKLY over DIGEST – though I purchased both!

    AS THE WORLD TURNS was “my” show, but through the years I also watched DAYS OF OUR LIVES, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and ALL MY CHILDREN. DAYS is the only one left now – and I sometimes catch it on SoapNet (weren’t Kristen’s exit scenes just fabulous? Jim Reilly would be proud!).

    Marlena – aka Dr. Hayman – you continue to be my one soap opera stop on the internet. Now that “my” show is gone, I still check your site for the latest commentaries, and to see if anything may be worth watching. I had hoped to pass along my soap viewing habit to my (seven!) children, but it looks like they will have to watch serialized drama online someday. They won’t know the joy they are missing … tuning in tomorrow, or as they used to say, “join us again Monday” – it will never exist again, ever.

    Thank you for 24 great years. See you next WEEKLY!

    Michael Bird
    Tallassee, Alabama

  8. Happy anniversary Marlena. Although I do not usually comment, I come here every week to read your commentary. You continue to be a haven for your “thinking fans”!!!

  9. critical condition was my favourite part of SOW! i have always loved your thoughtful, passionate takes on the state of our soaps. so glad i found this page as i have missed your commentary!

  10. Patrick Erwin says:

    (I am so sorry my wishes are so late – I can only plead a veil of ignorance as the last few weeks of my semester came crashing down on my head!)

    Felicitations, Marlena!

    Here’s to nearly a quarter century of excellence! Your Critical Condition column remains a high weather mark of soap analysis. From the first issue in 1988, I loved SPW and your column was the first thing I read every week.

    I’m so honored that you featured my writing on your site and that I’ve gotten to know you. Though the last few years has been sad for soap fans (especially a P&G fan like me) it’s still a joy to read your column here.

    All the best and here’s to more for Marlena and more for us “Thinking Fans”!

  11. Happy Anniversary, Connie/Marlena!

  12. Chere Marlena, I know I am so unforgivably late with this — have been swamped with holiday madness — but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to wish you the happiest of anniversaries, my darling! I still fondly remember when you and I celebrated Marlena’s twentieth anniversary in a special edition of “Brandon’s Buzz.” May 2014 be your most fabulous year yet, and may you and Moose and Nigel enjoy the happiest new year imaginable!

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